Jose Mourinho was probably sacked by Tottenham after falling out with and failing to get the best out of his players, Graeme Souness has suggested.
After a poor run of Premier League form left them struggling to make the top six, plus exits from the FA Cup and Europa League, Tottenham on Monday decided to pull the trigger. It ends a 16-month tenure at the north London giants for Mourinho and cuts his contract short by more than two years.
The club confirmed Ryan Mason will “take first-team training today and a further update will follow in due course”.
Mourinho will depart, along with his coaching staff, Spurs confirmed in a statement.
Spurs face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, leading some to question the timing of the decision.
However, Souness has explained the factors he believes caused Daniel Levy to pull the trigger now.
Souness told Sky Sports News: “I’m surprised at the timing given they have a cup final this weekend. But something has gone on that has brought it to a head. I don’t think he [Daniel Levy] is too happy at their league form. They’re sixth now and they’ve been in and out the top four. It looks tough for them though.
“I think – and I’m second guessing – Jose is a top manager, an experienced manager – he’s got so frustrated with some of the players. I think in that situation – and I’ve been there myself when you get frustrated and have tried everything – you end up having harsh words and falling out with them. And if you end up falling out with one, you end up falling out with four or five, if not more. That ends up getting back to the powers that be, and then there’s only one outcome – and that’s the manager has to go.
Mourinho was appointed in November 2019 to help Tottenham end their long trophy drought. With the club ready to face Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, it was put to Souness if Mourinho should have been given more time.
“It’s very unusual that you sack a manager in the week of a cup final. And as I say, something’s brought it to a head, there’s been an incident. It’s forced the chairman to make the decision, he’s made the decision. Does that improve their chances of winning next weekend? Who knows – we’ll have to wait and find out.”
‘Squad weaker than Mourinho expected’
Souness believes Mourinho’s path to success was undermined, however, by a Tottenham squad that was weaker than he expected. Indeed, the pundit suggested that they had punched above their weight reaching the 2019 Champions League final.
Souness added: “When he took the job, it was a team that had been to the Champions League final. But when he took over, I think he [Mourinho] soon realised that squad was not what he thought it was.
“That season they got there, they shouldn’t have got there. They lost 13 league games, but beat Ajax and Man City over two legs to get there. Getting to the final suggested it was a healthy squad. But once he went there, he quickly realised, it was far from that.”